France head into Euro 2024 as quite possibly the standout candidates to lift the trophy but their prospects may to a large extent depend on Kylian Mbappe not being distracted by his club future.

Mbappe's long goodbye from Paris Saint-Germain and switch to Real Madrid have dominated headlines in France and Spain in recent months.

The 25-year-old's presence for PSG over the last three months of the season could no longer be taken for granted and he did not look at his sharpest in his final appearances for the French champions.

However, he still scored 44 club goals in the campaign just finished and France coach Didier Deschamps has no doubt that his captain will be firing on all cylinders at the European Championship. 

"The context around the France team is different," Deschamps said last week as his squad started to gather to prepare for the Euros at their Clairefontaine training base deep in the forest an hour outside Paris.

"Kylian has always considered himself to be part of a collective. Obviously he has responsibilities with his club. He also has responsibilities, if not more, with France."

Mbappe has scored 46 goals in 77 appearances for his country, including an astonishing hat-trick in the memorable final of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, which France lost on penalties to Argentina.

However, neither Mbappe nor his country have happy memories of the last Euros three years ago.

He did not score a goal as Les Bleus were eliminated in the last 16, losing on penalties to Switzerland after Mbappe missed the crucial kick in the shootout.

Before that, Mbappe had only just emerged at Monaco, and had not yet played for France, when Deschamps' team agonisingly lost the Euro 2016 final on home soil, going down in extra time to Portugal.

"It is true that I have not won the Euros as a coach, but then lots of coaches have not won it," Deschamps, who led France to glory at the 2018 World Cup, pointed out to AFP in a recent interview.

"Demands on us are so high because we have made so much progress.

"After the World Cup there is nothing bigger than the Euros. And there is some logic to the idea that we are among the favourites, like other teams, after everything we have done."

France breezed through qualifying, winning seven straight games before a 2-2 draw in Greece which came after their place at the finals in Germany was already secured.

But performances in recent friendly matches, while perhaps not enough to set alarm bells ringing, were a reminder that the top-ranked team in Europe should not take anything for granted.

They were well beaten 2-0 at home by Germany in March, before labouring to a 3-2 win against Chile a few days later.

Kante back, Griezmann key

Deschamps' team has changed since the Qatar World Cup, with goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris having retired along with centre-back Raphael Varane.

Olivier Giroud is now 37 and Marcus Thuram, scorer of 15 goals for Italian champions Inter Milan in the season just ended, looks set to lead the line.

Deschamps will hope key midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni recovers fully from the foot injury which saw him miss the Champions League final with Real Madrid last weekend.

Concerns about Tchouameni were what led Deschamps to recall N'Golo Kante, who is now playing in Saudi Arabia and had not appeared for his country in two years.

Antoine Griezmann, at 33, will again play a big role in the middle of the park, just as he did so majestically in Qatar.

"We are going to be the favourites, certainly, but we need to prove it on the pitch," pointed out the Atletico Madrid man, as France prepare to take on the Netherlands, Austria and Poland in Group D.

Deschamps insists it is "a difficult group", although if all goes to form they could find themselves on a collision course to face England in the semi-finals.

"Like other nations we have the potential to maybe go all the way, but we must not already be thinking about the semi-finals or a possible final," the coach said.

"The Euros are very difficult, with eight of the top 10 teams in the world rankings involved."